Israel Policy Forum expresses horror at Sunday’s events in the West Bank town of Huwara, which began with the murder of two Israelis and ended with an hours-long rampage of killing, injuring, and property destruction targeting Palestinians. It is an especially horrific example of the violence that each side perpetrates against the other as the West Bank further descends into lawlessness and chaos.

Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were shot and killed on Route 60, the main artery for both Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, on a stretch of road that Israel Policy Forum staff and supporters have traversed many times. Their only crime was driving from one spot to another, and their deaths are a ruthless example of the terrorism that Israeli civilians face on an ongoing basis. The Palestinians who were terrorized and vandalized for hours following the Yaniv brothers’ murders were in their homes and fields, in places where their security is supposed to be overseen and guaranteed by the IDF. Their only crimes were being Palestinians living in proximity to a spot where a different Palestinian committed a terrorist attack, and the settlers who rampaged through their homes and streets unimpeded, without any real consequences, represent the daily injustice that Palestinians face as non-citizens on their land with no recourse to any responsible higher authority. 

The twin Huwara tragedies are all the more lamentable coming on the same day that the U.S. successfully convened Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, and Jordanian officials in order to work out joint understandings on security and de-escalation ahead of Ramadan and Passover. They are yet another sadly predictable reminder that events on the ground are spiraling out of control and will continue to do so absent real systemic changes. The combination of a far-right Israeli government that is escalating confrontations with Palestinians in the West Bank and a Palestinian youth movement that is newly dedicated to terrorism and armed struggle as preferred forms of resistance will only ensure more such days. We fervently hope that both sides pull back from the brink, and we commend recent U.S. efforts at de-escalation, while continuing to call for increased steps to restore some sort of political process between Israelis and Palestinians that can build trust and avert further unnecessary bloodshed.